Confusion reigns at CAPC’s first meeting of 2022

Thursday, January 13, 2022

At its first meeting of 2022, the Eureka Springs City Advertising and Promotion Commission voted Jan. 4 to approve its annual budget — although there was some confusion about when that vote was taken and whether two incumbent City Council members could legally vote on the issue.

Approximately 16 minutes into the meeting, after a presentation by finance director Scott Bardin, commissioner Melissa Greene made a motion to “approve the budget as presented.” Commissioner Carol Wright seconded the motion and the four commissioners present at the meeting approved it with a unanimous voice vote.

“Budget passes,” chair Jeff Carter said.

About 30 minutes later, however, when Carter pointed out that commission bylaws call for the election of a chair each year, Greene said the commission couldn’t vote on that issue because four votes are required to elect a chair and commissioners cannot vote for themselves.

Greene and commissioner Harold Meyer, both incumbent members of the Eureka Springs City Council, were elected by the council to fill its two CAPC seats in 2021. But the Jan. 4 CAPC meeting came before the city council’s first meeting of 2022, so the council hadn’t yet chosen its CAPC representatives for 2022. On Monday, Jan. 10, the council elected Autumn Slane and Nick Roberts to serve on the CAPC.

“From what I understand … someone cannot vote for themselves,” Greene said. “We do not have enough of a commission to probably vote.”

“Well, we could,” Carter said. “We could vote. We could still do vice chair, secretary, treasurer.”

“No, we really don’t, because Harry and I can’t,” Greene replied. “We really can’t.”

“We’ve already voted on the budget, didn’t we?” Meyer asked.

“No, not yet,” said Greene.

Greene then made a motion, seconded by Wright, to carry the chair, vice chair and secretary over until the next meeting. The motion passed unanimously.

The commission then moved into a lengthy discussion on budgets, again voting unanimously to pass a 2022 budget to be presented to the city council and then voting, again unanimously, to approve a budget for Paradise Marketing.

Later in the meeting, Greene addressed the subject of commissioners missing meetings.

“This is hard and it is not directed as, but it will be taken personal, but it’s not,” Greene said. “We have one commissioner that has shown up twice since August, is not here tonight, and our bylaws say three meetings. I don’t know if I’ll be sitting here — who knows who the City Council will put on — but this is an important commission. We’ve got a lot of money that we’re taking care of. We’ve got a fairly new staff that is doing fantastic, but we still need to be here. So I would suggest that we talk to the one commissioner.”

Greene did not name any individual commissioner, but she appeared to be referring to commissioner James DeVito, who was absent from the Jan. 4 meeting along with commissioner Patrick Burnett.

After some discussion regarding an application submitted by Bill King to serve on the commission, Greene reiterated that the commission should talk to the oft-absent commissioner.

“I think we should talk to that commissioner,” she said. “And unfortunately, I’m going to leave that to you, Jeff, because you’re still the chair and just see what the intentions are. Because like I said, I don’t know if I’ll be sitting here the next meeting, but I think this is an important commission and we need people that really want to be here and want to do the work.”

Wright asked if she was correct that the commission’s bylaws allow a commissioner to be removed if they miss three consecutive meetings.

“And it’s been three consecutive meetings,” Greene said. “Like today, we were not able to vote on officers. It bothers me to bring it up. But I would want people to bring it up if it was me.”

The CAPC’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 26, at The Aud. That meeting will be live-streamed on YouTube.

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